These flavorful Curry and Masala Lentils are a great meatless option for lunch or even supper! Served over hot cooked rice they make a complete meal, loaded with veggies and spiced perfectly. This is the BEST way to eat lentils!
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Lentils are one of those things everyone knows they should eat, but finding tasty recipes your family loves can be a real challenge! I am absolutely tickled that I finally found a lentil recipe that is healthy and my family actually likes. I have had many great lentil side dishes over the years, but it has been so hard to find a great lentil main dish that is a complete meal. Well, here you have it with my favorite Curry and Masala Lentils!
I first found the recipe for “Curried Lentils” in the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Jenzen Longacre. I adapted it for my family size and tastes, including scaling back the curry powder and replacing some of that with one of my favorite spices: Garam Masala
What is Garam Masala?
Garam Masala is a spice blend that is often used in Indian dishes. It has a warm and almost Christmas-y vibe about it (maybe that’s the nutmeg and cinnamon), but it adds such an amazing and robust flavor to a variety of dishes.
I buy my Garam Masala from the local grocery store in the “International Foods” section, but if you can’t find it or it’s pricey in your area, try this Homemade Garam Masala recipe from Feasting at Home.
Beyond the addition of Garam Masala, I cook these Curry and Masala Lentils for an extended amount of time. By doing this, much of the liquid evaporates and the flavor is intensified. Instead of a soupy texture, the Curry and Masala Lentils become stew-like in their consistency and spoon up nicely over a dish of hot, cooked rice. The addition of a generous dollop of sour cream or yogurt adds a coolness that is just absolutely delicious with these lentils. I love serving these with a loaf of sourdough bread just to ensure the meal is hearty and filling. Many vegetarian meals lack that “filling” factor so I like to double down on ingredients that promote satiety like potatoes, bread, and proteins.
Curry and Masala Lentils also have a healthy dose of vegetables: onions, carrots, and celery are diced fine and compliment the flavors perfectly.
How do I Make Curry and Masala Lentils?
- Melt your butter in a large pot.
- Saute your onions, carrots, and celery until tender.
- Add your garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Add your seasonings, lentils, and broth.
- Simmer for an hour or so.
- Serve over hot cooked rice and a dollop of sour cream.
Curry and Masala Lentils are so easily reheated as leftovers on the stovetop. I keep my leftovers in a big pot in the fridge, add a little water, stir well, and cook on low until they are warm and serve them over fresh rice. These are definitely one of those meals that taste even better as leftovers.
Curry and Masala Lentils
- 1/4 cup Salted Butter
- 1 medium Onion chopped
- 2 large Carrots chopped fine
- 2 stalks Celery chopped fine
- 2-3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1 tbsp. Curry Powder
- 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
- 6 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 1/2 cups Brown Lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
- Cooked Rice for serving
- Sour Cream or Yogurt for serving
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until translucent. Add in the garlic and saute for an additional minute or two, until fragrant.
- Add in the salt, curry powder, and garam masala and saute an additional few minutes, stirring often to prevent burning and to distribute the seasoning over all of the vegetables.
- Add the chicken broth, lentils, and bay leaf. Stir and reduce the heat to medium.
- Simmer for 40-60 minutes, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the lentils are soft and tender. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the lemon juice.
- Spoon the lentils over hot cooked rice and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.